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SW water fails to meet new standards

South Wairarapa’s water supplies fail to meet standards set by the new water regulator Taumata Arowai.

Meanwhile, the council wants to reassure the public that its water supplies remain safe and that improvement work is underway to meet the new standards.

In a report to a recent Wellington Water Committee meeting, it was revealed that South Wairarapa’s Waiohine, Memorial Park, and Martinborough water treatment plants are not compliant with Taumata Arowai’s new rules “due to insufficient treatment to meet the source water risk”.

In November last year, Taumata Arowai and the Water Services Act 2021 lifted the bar on safe drinking water in New Zealand.

In response to these new regulations, Wellington Water reviewed all South Wairarapa drinking water treatment plants to see how they measured up, a South Wairarapa spokesperson said.

“At Greytown’s main water source, Soldiers Memorial Park, the plant is currently non-compliant with the new regulations.

“An ultraviolet [UV] treatment unit was put in place temporarily in 2019 to provide an additional barrier to contamination, but another barrier [filtration] is required to meet the new standards.

“A project is in progress to ensure its compliance, which is planned to begin this winter and to be completed in November 2023.”

The Martinborough water treatment plant has UV in place, and a manganese reduction plant and chlorination have been added in the last few years,
the spokesperson said.

“However, to meet the new regulations, a further treatment barrier is needed, and a project is being initiated to upgrade the treatment plant to achieve this.”

The Waiohine treatment plant that supplies Featherston – and, at times, Greytown – was the subject of a major renovation and expansion project that finished last year, making it more resilient and improving the safety of the drinking water.

“Improvements have been made to the underground Boar Bush emergency water storage tank, where it diverts to before heading to Featherston.

“Further testing and monitoring of the source water at the Waiohine water treatment plant is expected to confirm that no further treatment is needed above what is now in place.”

Wellington Water is currently assessing the impact of Taumata Arowai’s new rules for the Pirinoa treatment plant. – NZLDR

Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air

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Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland is Wairarapa’s Local Democracy Reporter, a Public Interest Journalism role funded through NZ On Air. Emily has worked at the Wairarapa Times-Age for seven years and has a keen interest in council decision-making and transparency.

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